June 5, 2024

How We Helped a Family Launch Their 19 Year Old, The Degree Free Way (DF#152)

How We Helped a Family Launch Their 19 Year Old, The Degree Free Way

The Degree Free Approach in Career Fulfillment

Join us for an enlightening episode where we share the success story of a young adult who found his career path through the Launch Program.

Discover how he identified his goals and secured a job aligned with his interests.

What You’ll Learn:

- Importance of prioritizing needs and wants when choosing a job
- Value of specific skills over a college degree
- Challenges and uncertainties in pursuing higher education
- Achieving financial goals through high-income skills and market trends

Tune in to learn how focusing on skills and career goals can lead to a fulfilling and successful professional journey.

Whether you're navigating career choices or aiming for financial success, this episode offers valuable insights for your personal growth and development.

Enjoy the episode!

Desperate for an alternative to the college debt trap for your teen?

Overwhelmed by all the college alternative options?

Help your 16-20 year old build a the life the want!

Checkout our book, The Degree Free Way, to Help Your Teenager Save $100,000, Stop Feeling Overwhelmed, and Start Getting Excited About Their Future.

Like, subscribe, write us a review, and if you have a question or want some advice email us at [email protected]

Join the Degree Free! Receive our weekly newsletter and get exclusive tips and tricks to help your child build they life they want, Degree Free!

Newsletter Sign Up - Email Only

Listen to the episode on: Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusiciHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Don't miss our previous episode where we challenge the college-only mindset, explore vocational creativity, and uncover alternative paths to fulfilling careers—tune in now!

Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Summary:

In this podcast episode, Hannah and Ryan Maruyama share a story about a young adult named John who went through the Launch Program. John identified his goals and focused on income, location, and schedule to find a sales-based job in tech sales.

A 19-year-old flooring epoxy installer landed a job at an AI fleet management software sales company through hard work and having a plan. The importance of stories in communication and the value of skills are emphasized.

The conversation explores the idea that a college degree is not necessary for success, highlighting the importance of having direction and goals. Skills, high-income job sectors, and a profit center mindset are emphasized for achieving financial goals in different industries.

Connect with Ryan:

Connect With Hannah:

Action Steps & Recommendations:

  • Identify your goals and create a vocational creativity list focusing on income, location, and schedule.
  • Learn necessary skills for the job you are pursuing, such as SQL and Python.
  • Aggressively apply for jobs that align with your criteria and goals.
  • Have a clear plan in place and work hard in the right areas to achieve success.
  • Seek guidance and coaching to make informed decisions about education and career paths.
  • Focus on developing the necessary skills for your desired industry or sector.
  • Be open to different pathways to reach your financial goals and stay up-to-date with market trends.


  • 00:00:33 - Importance of identifying life goals before choosing a job
  • 00:02:30 - The Degree Free approach to vocational creativity and job selection
  • 00:07:13 - Focus on meeting job criteria before considering interests
  • 00:11:05 - 19-year-old flooring epoxy installer gets job in B2B AI software sales
  • 00:12:38 - Importance of having a plan and direction in achieving success
  • 00:20:03 - Value of learning relevant skills instead of buying a college degree
  • 00:22:14 - Importance of direction over a college degree
  • 00:25:00 - Challenges with college requirements
  • 00:30:08 - Setting lofty goals and the need for coaching
  • 00:32:06 - Explaining the S&P 500 and investing
  • 00:33:34 - Discussing the goal of $10,000,000 and strategies to achieve it
  • 00:37:00 - Advice on finding high-paying jobs and skills needed to reach the goal
  • 00:43:14 - The importance of learning skills in business
  • 00:43:57 - Building a profitable business for future sale
  • 00:46:13 - Impact of learning skills on securing desired work

References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:00]:
If they are this driven and they want something, then all they need to know is the actual skills that they need. They do not need to buy a college degree. They need to know what to learn and how to learn it very quickly. And then they will just gone. They're off on their way. And I've seen that happen over and over through the launch program.

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:23]:
Aloha folks and welcome back to degree free. We have a bunch of stuff to get into today, so let's just jump right in. I think you wanted to start things off today.

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:33]:
Yes. I would love to start things off today. I have a story for you all that I would love to tell you, and that is about one of our young adults who has gone through our launch program. And I want to share his story because it's so cool. Ideally, he's going to be able to come on the podcast and share his own story soon. But in lieu of that, I'm going to tell my version and my side of it now because it's been quite an experience working through this with him. And I'm very excited to share the process, how it worked, and then what happened as a result of that. So I'm going to use a fake name for the story because I've talked to him about coming on the podcast and he probably will, but before he has I'll anonymize his story a little bit so that I can tell it freely.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:16]:
So basically what happened is John started in the launch program at 19. He was working, doing construction, doing flooring, hard work as anybody who's worked in those things knows. And he wanted to get a different type of job, but he didn't know how to start or how to get into the type of industry that he was interested in. But also he was kind of worried that he didn't know maybe all of the options that were out there. And so he ended up applying for the launch program, starting the launch program. So what I want to do with you folks today is I'm going to read you his vocational creativity list. So for those of you that don't know the way the launch program works, the first session is us going through and figuring out what goals someone has. And then I go out and I find jobs that fit those life goals, as opposed to pick work out of a hat and good luck.

Hannah Maruyama [00:02:10]:
Hope they help you fulfill your goals. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to read you his list, and then I'm going to tell you where he ended up because it's just amazing. And that is what we're going to do today. So his vocational creativity list, and this is a list of jobs that I found for him that fit the goals that he had in life.

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:30]:
I want to point out here that the vocational creativity stuff and specifically goals first, identifying those goals and then using work to fulfill those goals. Like that is the degree free way. And I want to point that out because the opposite is so prevalent in the job market writ large, but especially with younger, you know, 16 to 20 year olds that are just after high school or just about to finish high school, it's always, what are you interested? What do you wanna do? Find a job that you love and you'll never work a day in your life, that type of thing. That's always where they go first. Like, well, you should really think about the interest. Like this was actually a comment on TikTok just literally this morning when I was looking at it, it was, you did a video.

Hannah Maruyama [00:03:15]:
The video about 18 to 20 year olds who are wanting to leave college are not interested, but they don't really know what to do.

Ryan Maruyama [00:03:20]:
So you did a video that was about 18 to 20 year old young men that don't want to go to college, but they're not sure what to do. One of the comments was that you should think about incorporating their interests and passion basically into what you do in a way we sort of do, but we don't approach it from that perspective in a way we kind of do, but it really manifests itself in your needs and your wants. And really it's just a conversation that we have with these people. We're like, Hey, well, what are your goals? And then it's our job to suss out the needs versus wants. If you want to work through that kind of stuff yourself, you can go to degreefree.coforward/otheroptions to pre order the workbook set that we are coming out with, and it walks you through the first part of the launch program, basically, and everything that we do. You can go there and you can work through that yourself. But it's taking those life goals, identifying those goals, and then finding work that fulfills those goals. That is the degree free way.

Ryan Maruyama [00:04:26]:
And I believe one of the reasons why there's such high job dissatisfaction and therefore life dissatisfaction is because people aren't doing that when they're picking jobs.

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:39]:
Do you know how I know that's true? Because every single parent almost that has come through the launch program with their child has told me that they wish somebody had asked them those questions when they were choosing what to do and when they were choosing to go into college or when they were choosing a job even. And for those parents, it's such an earth shattering change because it's a completely dynamic shift away from the way they were told to pick work, which is pick what you love, do what you love, blah, blah, blah. And they're like, wait a minute. What I love doesn't pay well or what I love doesn't translate into what will support the type of life that I want to live, which happens all of the time. And so we just flip that entire process on its head.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:17]:
Yeah. Right, exactly. Or I can't afford to do what I love.

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:20]:
It's like,

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:20]:
yeah, I

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:20]:
want to work with koala bears all day. Okay. Well, I don't know if you'll be able to afford groceries if you do that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:25]:
As a response to that, there are ways that you can work and then do things that you're passionate about as well. I'm a big proponent of doing those things responsibly and getting the things that you need from your work first and then going and fulfilling your passions later. What I'm saying is that maybe you'd want to work with koalas. Okay. That's awesome. But you also need to make $150,000

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:50]:
to afford to live where you live.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:51]:
Maybe you go worry about the $150,000 first.

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:54]:
And then you worry about the call list.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:56]:
And then you worry about the koalas, go do whatever job that you need to. And maybe there is a job that you can work with koalas that makes $150,000

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:04]:
Or live near your family, where you wanna live.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:06]:
Whatever it is, whatever your need is. And that's why you have to have these conversations with your young adult. If you're a job seeker, dude, you need to have these internal conversations with yourself to go through these things and identify what it is that you need and what you want. But I'm just saying I'm a big proponent of sure. Following your passion. I do think that you should do that, but I just think you should do it responsibly.

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:27]:
It's not going to bankrupt you.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:28]:
Yeah. Well, also at the end of the day, you might not be worried about money. Most people are, but you might not be worried about money, but at the end of the day, you're just satisfied with the way that your life turned out because the thing that you're doing most of the time and most of your waking hours

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:43]:
Allows you to do what you want.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:45]:
Exactly. You're not like, oh my God, this sucks. And why does it suck? It probably sucks because you don't have enough money to do all the things that you want to do in life and that you need

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:55]:
to do Or your schedule is terrible.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:56]:
That you need to do in life. You know, like, you can't afford groceries or your schedule is terrible. You don't see your kids, whatever. You don't

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:03]:
have to your family.

Ryan Maruyama [00:07:04]:
Yeah, exactly. Whatever your need is.

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:07]:
No, that's a really good point. And actually I want to hammer down into that a little bit because that makes it sound like we don't actually take passions into account. We do passions and interests come into account after initial need criteria are met. And then you look, so, okay. I need to make $50,000 All right. Well, first we look for jobs that fit that make $50,000 And then we worry about which ones interest you within those ranges. But if you need to earn a certain amount of money or you need to live in a certain location, or you can't work overnight shifts, or you can't work early morning shifts or whatever, or you can't have jobs that have you work standing up, whatever it is, all of those things come into play first. And then we worry about which of these jobs is interest based.

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:45]:
So with that in mind, John was worried first about income and then about location and then about schedule. Those are the things that we optimize for in this vocational creativity list. So when I went out and did this research, these are the jobs that I found. Number 1 on the list was SDR. So that's sales development representative. Number 2 was sales engineer. Number 3 was account executive. You'll notice that the top 3 are all sales based and that's because that's what ended up fitting the criteria that he gave me and would give him the ability to get into these jobs quicker.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:21]:
Inside sales rep was number 4. And also we put these in order and he ordered them. So customer success manager, product manager, technical account manager, systems engineer. We had AI prompt engineer. That was a big one. Machine learning engineer. As you can see, there was a lot of engineering and tech on this one. Data scientist, AI research scientist, data architect, Building Information Modeling Manager, CAD Technician.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:47]:
And then we had a different category, which was more interest based that met the criteria, finance and insurance manager for an automotive sales business. And that could be an actual dealer or working for a company that does car sales, not necessarily to the consumer in that way, but commercial vehicle salesperson, and then fleet sales manager. Notice the last one on this list is the fleet sales manager. The way this works is we come up with a big list and then the young adult that we're working with and whoever's working with them eliminates different jobs from the list based on interest. This is where interest comes into play after it's met your basic criteria. One of the ones that was very interesting that we talked about actually at length was a fleet sales manager, because it was an interesting job. It fit some of the experience he already had and the interests that he already had. So that one was definitely hard cut to make, but he ended up cutting that one just because the other jobs on the list fit his criteria more.

Hannah Maruyama [00:09:45]:
And this is why the interest versus needs thing is so important. But anyway, we'll come back to that. So he goes to the launch program. We end up with his career curriculum, and that is a set of things he needed to learn in order to get the job he ended up with. And so he ended up going the tech sales route. So we went SDR. That was the route that we went. So sales development representative and specifically for software sales because of the schedule and remote work set up and the income that allows someone to make.

Hannah Maruyama [00:10:14]:
So he started applying for jobs, but before he started applying for jobs, he learned SQL, Python, AWS cloud, and then as well as Salesforce sales representative. And then also started using LinkedIn navigator, which is something you're going to have to do if you're doing any sort of sales. And he started doing that, started using those things, started very intensely learning them. I think he learned everything. I want to say within 40 to 50 days of coming out with a plan. And he put in the time, put in the work to learn these skills. And then he went out and he started applying for jobs very aggressively as we are big on people doing. And the result of that was that this is just too good.

Hannah Maruyama [00:10:59]:
He ended up being hired at an AI fleet management software sales company. So he got his interest and he got his number one choice of the research and the finding of the jobs. He ended up with a job that was a perfect blend of all of the things on his list. And it's very cool. It's remote, but there's some travel involved because he was interested in being able to travel a little bit for work. Very, very cool. That is not the best part. The best part of this story is the fact that he was told after he gets his process down within a couple months, they will give him an intern.

Hannah Maruyama [00:11:40]:
Guess where they're going to give him the intern from?

Ryan Maruyama [00:11:42]:
No idea.

Hannah Maruyama [00:11:43]:
From a college. They're going to get him a 21, 22 year old college student to help him automate and run his sales processes more manually so he can be more effective. It's just too good. So for those of you listening, the summary here is after going through the launch program, a 19 year old flooring epoxy installer was able to get a job in B2B AI software sales. And the best part of this is that he sat down, learned the stack of skills that were in these job descriptions, got a job and is now as a reward, not only was given a job, but is also going to be given a college student to teach how to do what he is doing. It's just too good.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:32]:
What's amazing is the value of just having a plan. There's a plan for action and telling you, like, this is what to do. This is the direction that you should be going. And then obviously, you have to put in a lot of hard work in after that, not taking away at all from any of the hard work that he did, that John did to then get this role and then to basically change his life, but you have to have a direction. John talked about this. I think it was with you or maybe it was with me when I was talking to him, but it was basically, he listened to that episode 135 that I did that was talking about like basically being in the right vehicle and hard work doesn't matter. Hard work in the right areas, doing the right things. That is what matters.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:18]:
And that's exactly what he did. He was going to work hard no matter what. I don't remember if it was you telling me or if it was him telling me, we talked about it, him and I, when we met, we talked about it, but I think it was you telling me that when he originally heard that he was scrubbing floors or something like that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:41]:
He was working on a job. And so he had been doing a floor and he sat in his truck. He said after

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:45]:
he was putting down floors, not scrubbing floors.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:48]:
No, no, no. Putting down floors.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:49]:
Yeah. Yeah. And he was just like, I'm in the wrong vehicle with this thing. And that reminded me so much of my own story of going back to my episode 135. You can go and listen to that. I'll put it in the show notes to reefer.co4 slash podcast. But I worked really hard at being a dishwasher. Like I worked really hard at being a server at a local fast casual restaurant.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:13]:
And did it pay off? Yeah. I mean, it did. I went into the highest paid position at the earliest that I could do it and I skipped 13 other people that was in line before me. Yeah. It worked really well. But as far as serving my ultimate goals of wanting to retire early. And for me, my goal is really just make money to actually go into the story. I tell that story in the book degreefree.coforward/otheroptions.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:40]:
And it's just really just to tell a story where we can break up this textbook. Sorry. I'm doing a total tangent here, but what's so funny is that you and I wrote this book. This is like the 5th book that we've written so far. And prior to this, we've written 2 books for another business that we did. My name's not on the cover of those books.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:00]:
But Ryan helped write them.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:01]:
Yeah, totally. And for this business, this is the second book that we've written and we went to write this book and we wrote it all out and we were like, man, this thing is so useful. And then we read it and we were like, it is super useful, but it is super dry.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:19]:
It's so boring. No one's going to read it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:21]:
I went back to the first book that we wrote for this and that thing flopped like crazy, like super bad. It is really, really good. Like really, really amazing. It is a literally 200 pages. It's a textbook and nobody bought it. And I don't think anybody used it either.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:40]:
Even when we've sent it to people, people will just go. Okay, great. Thanks so much. And then they'll just proceed to ask questions that I know for a fact to be answered in-depth and very thoroughly inside of this book. And so I know what that means is they went in, they cracked the first three pages. It was so boring. They quit reading it and then they just came back and asked me questions.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:00]:
Yeah. Well, that's also a testament to people don't value things that are free.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:02]:
Yeah, that's true. That's so unfortunate. Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:04]:
That's a testament to that as well. Yeah. So we wrote it and then I was just like, we got to break this up somehow. And then I did a bunch of research. I'm not a writer and I don't know how to publisher. I'm not an editor, not an author.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:19]:
Well, that's funny because you've been all of those things for the past few months.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:22]:
Yeah, totally. Full time really. Yeah. But I'm not formally trained in any of that is what I'm saying. And we have a big quote library and really it's too crappy Walmart shelves. One of them is actually like broken because we're too cheap to like,

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:36]:
To fix it. It's like the top half of one of those. Y'all know what I'm talking about. You know, those Walmart bookshelves, the mainstays one.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:42]:
And if you don't know what we're talking about, then you're rich.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:54]:
Oh man. But for those of you just to paint a picture of this, it's those Walmart bookshelves that you know how the top half sometimes gets a little wobbly. So you gotta put it on the ground. It's one of those. And then the one that we have that is currently constructed, you know, the shelves are on back. Anyway, I did it. Obviously, Ryan didn't do it. So that's our library.

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:10]:
Yeah. That's the library. But anyway, I went back to the library. I was like, okay. Well, what is normal in these books? Like, how do these nonfiction books try and attempt to be not so lame? And then one of the things is, like, stories and it's like, oh, okay. Got it. And so we tried to throw in as many stories as possible that's relevant to the subject matter. And I've said this before, but if the point of any type of communication, whether or not that's written or whether or not it's us speaking right now, If the point of that is to have somebody else read it or listen to it, then we should probably do it in a digestible way that they will read the next word and they will retain what it is that we're saying.

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:51]:
And so, okay, well, and so we gotta think of stories and things like that. Anyway, I tell the story, the reason why I wanted to make a lot of money is like that's pretty much what my parents and my family wanted for me. But then I ended up wanting that as well and it's not really money that I want. It's the things that money can afford me, which is security, lifestyle, location, independence, those types of things.

Hannah Maruyama [00:18:15]:
I think my phone has been listening to you. Tell me the stories are really important because it just fed me a masterclass ad for Michael Lewis. And I almost I've never clicked on one of those things. Not only did I watch the entire ad because he was like, stories are important. And then he proceeded, but he did it in such a way that he proceeded to tell a story. And so I watched the entire ad. If that's not proof that stories are important, I don't know what is. And then I almost accidentally bought masterclass so I can learn to tell good stories from Michael Lewis.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:41]:
So it reminded me very much of myself and trying to work really hard at being a server and work really hard at being the best employee at that fast casual restaurant so that I can move up and become an occupy the best seat there when really I should have not done that. I wish that I had had our direction back then, because then I could take that. Obviously I had action. Obviously I was not afraid of hard work. I just didn't know what to put my hard work into.

Hannah Maruyama [00:19:19]:
And we were just talking about that too, because a lot of times people comment on TikTok and YouTube and they'll just say, if they're going to do these things, they should just go ahead and buy a college degree. But the thing is, and talking about specifically this demographic of young men and really though, if, if they are this driven and they want something, then all they need to know is the actual skills that they need. They do not need to buy a college degree. They need to know what to learn and how to learn it very quickly. And then they will just gone. They're off on their way. And I've seen that happen over and over through the launch program.

Ryan Maruyama [00:19:52]:
Hey there. I hope that you're loving this episode of the degree free podcast. We spend a ton of time every week creating this content for you. So my only ask is you take a quick second to leave a review or thumbs up on whatever platform you're on. It's one of the best and easiest ways that you can support this podcast, and this simple action can help bring more people into the degree free community. At degree free, we wanna help as many people as we can thrive and succeed without needing a college degree. Your review will be a step in that direction. If you could do this small favor right now, pause this and leave a review.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:23]:
It would truly mean the world to us. Thank you, and back to the show. Yeah. Going to college anyway is the mindset. It's that papered mindset that we always talk about. There's not no shade on anybody that has the papered mindset. That was me in different parts of my life, and that was me in earlier parts of my life. It was one of the stories that got cut from the book.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:41]:
Actually, we were gonna talk about it. Me, after I graduated college, because I have a degree in economics, I got a job in banking. I have multiple jobs in banking, actually. And I actually, like, quote, employed the degree, but I mean, it literally didn't employ the degree at all actually.

Hannah Maruyama [00:20:59]:
Because you were out earning by working at a restaurant.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:02]:
Yeah. And then the thing is, is what's really funny about this is that I get people cast a lot of shade on me on Tik TOK and on YouTube. And he's like, yeah, bro, because you got a degree in economics. You're not wrong. I agree with you. It's not like I picked willy nilly because I don't really do that type of thing. I chose economics because of all the things that I was saying. So the whole thing is that I tried to get a degree in finance because I wanted to be like a financial advisor or something like that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:30]:
You want to know the secret is you don't need a degree to be a financial advisor.

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:34]:
No, you need a funeral license. It's set up in a real estate

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:36]:
and then you need to learn how to sell

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:38]:
and you need a job to sell to people.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:39]:
Yes, That is what you need. Anyway, I failed a bunch of classes because I was working full time trying to pay for school. I also just didn't like school. I am good at it, but I just didn't like it. I didn't see what the next step was going to be after school. Like, I just didn't understand what it was going to be. So I was like, what am I doing?

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:59]:
I just want to stop you right there because that is something I hear all the time, which is, yeah, they just don't really see the point. If your child has said, I don't really see the point, or I suspect that this is a waste of time or anything remotely along those lines, your child just needs direction. They do not need a college degree. That is such an indicator that your child has thought through what's going on and just doesn't see why. And the other thing that matters about that is if they don't see the point, they're not going to be motivated to even do it anyway. And if they suspect it's a waste of time, it's probably going to be a waste of time for them because they've clearly thought through the fact that there must be another way or there must be other options. So there be better ways to do that. And if your child is like that, 1, that's a dynamic pattern of thought.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:45]:
And 2, if they think that they're probably right. If they do think that please help them figure out and just research and find other options that they can go to learn the things that they want to learn, because they do not have to go to a college to learn those things.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:01]:
That's pretty much exactly what happened to me. I didn't see the point of it, even though I did my research quote, but I was like, I just don't see how whatever classes, whatever gen ed classes I was taking at the time. And then whatever, like pre business school classes I was taking at the time is, like, gonna help me in whatever job roles and in the future. And then I was making money. So I was like, I don't get it. Anyway, long story short, I failed a bunch of classes. My freshman and my sophomore year w's withdrew. I think I had a couple of incompletes and then I had, like, an F or a D or a bunch of it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:38]:
My GPA was like really terrible.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:40]:
Were those all gen ed classes that you were doing poorly

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:43]:
in? Most of them, except for

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:46]:
Like one that was hard. That was part of your actual major?

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:49]:
No, most of them were gen ed. I think.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:52]:
You didn't see why or didn't care about them?

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:55]:
Some of them were gen ed, but then some of them were the prerequisites that you would need to get into business school. The undergrad business school in the college that I went to.

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:07]:
So crazy. Cause now I feel like you can teach at the, you can probably teach at the business school.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:12]:
But what was interesting about that was that the way that the college was set up at the time, and I don't know how it is now. I haven't looked back. So let's just say that you need so let's just call it business class. I forget what the classes are, but let's just say it's pre business school class 101. What needs to happen is you need to go take pre business school class 101, and you either need a c or some classes you needed a B as well. Let's just say for C for easy quote, math, you need a C in this class. If you don't get a C right off the bat, you are swimming uphill because now you have to retake that class and your grade to get accepted into business school is the average of the grades that you

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:55]:
get. So

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:57]:
if you fail it, you have to get an a, and if you don't get an a, then that's not a C.

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:03]:
What a smart way to make sure people are taking those classes.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:06]:
This is what happened to me. Like this is my life. And this is the reason why I didn't go to business school. And the reason why I became an economics major is because I got an F in one of the classes, whatever 101, because I was working. I didn't see the point of it. I was doing things with normal things that people do in college, like

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:25]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:26]:
Partying. You know, all of those things combined is why I was like, I don't see the point in this. I'm gonna have to do it. Got an F and I was like, oh my gosh, I got, I got an F in it. Now I have to get an a. So I took another class, and then I got a b in it for the next semester. And I was just like, it's still not an a. So now I have a F and a B that doesn't average out to a C.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:46]:
And so now I have to take it one more time.

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:48]:
In order to get into the business school.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:50]:
And now I have to go back and get an a, have to keep taking this class until I get an a or until it averages out or however the math maths out. I'm like, that doesn't make any sense. Yeah. It doesn't make no sense. And so I wasn't going to take these classes again for like the 3rd time. And this is, or whatever, I'm just going to be an economics major, but that wasn't willy nilly. I looked at all the other majors that were out there and I pick the way that everybody picks still to this day, even though this was 10 years ago or 15 years ago or whatever it was. And you go to these websites and you look up like economics major average pay or median pay.

Ryan Maruyama [00:26:26]:
And you look at all these websites and this, well, economics majors make $90,000 They

Hannah Maruyama [00:26:31]:
all look up average pay, which is why it's so deceptive.

Ryan Maruyama [00:26:33]:
But not only that, it's not just average. I mean, it's, those things are wrong. They're just wrong. Yeah. The reason why they're wrong is because it's like, you can get those jobs without degrees. And then also income stuff is difficult because it's all self reported and what jobs require economics degrees and which ones don't and which ones did you get because of your economics degrees and which ones did you not? Yep. It's very convoluted, and it's very difficult to parse through this type of data and through this type of decision making partially because they want it to be. And it's

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:04]:
intentional. It's very much central because how do you sell degrees if you actually let people look at the real picture?

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:09]:
Right. Exactly. Anyway, there's a long story and I kept out of the book because it's too long and it's too windy to tell. I felt like it was good to tell or at least to talk about because a lot of people go through the same thing. Not like I didn't choose this economics major willy nilly. I chose it very intentionally. Long story short. I ended up getting all these jobs and then I was like, Hey, but I actually hated the job.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:35]:
And then I quit, spent a few years. What am I doing a couple of years? Like, what am I doing? What am I doing? It's just bartending. And when it was time for me to be like, okay, I've got to do something with my life. Not that there's anything wrong with bartending. There's nothing wrong with it. I wanted more.

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:50]:
Yeah. You specifically were looking for a different career.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:52]:
So when it came to getting out of bartending, what is the thing that I went back to? I went back to school. I literally moved my entire life all the way across the country, and that was just a a whirlwind of other things as well. I'm sure it was quarter life crisis type of thing, but a lot of that quarter life crisis was induced by not knowing what to do and just feeling like I needed action.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:15]:
And to start over to try again,

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:16]:
feeling like I needed to keep doing something, but I didn't know what to do. And that was the difficult part. If I had direction and what to do, maybe I wouldn't have moved across the country. I'm glad that I did, but then I wouldn't have went and enrolled. It all came out in the Washington Post.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:34]:
For those listening, Ryan moved across the country and enrolled in school to become an engineer. That was what he did in his quarter life crisis.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:41]:
Right. Exactly. And that was just me throwing a $70,000 dart at the wall. And then it was going to cost me 70 grand or so, $80 or something like that because I already had a degree. So I just had to take the engineering classes. I was like, okay. Well, I can do that. That's fine.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:57]:
Literally, I had all the books. I was completely enrolled and classes were about to start, like, a couple of weeks out. I literally did not have the money. Nevermind $80,000 but I already had the books and everything. And I was just like, Oh, yeah. I disenrolled. And then I returned all the books and I was like, I don't know what I'm doing. I can't do this.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:17]:
But anyway, there's a long story short, which is I wish that I had had a plan. I wish that I had had some direction of, like, okay. Well, this is your life goals. A really helpful thing that we do is just to help clarify, like, what are your goals? Like, what are your life goals? Because that right there, just some clarification for me of what my life goals were at that time would have been very, very, very helpful.

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:42]:
Yeah. So 18, 19 year old you, what were your top two goals?

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:45]:
My number one goal, 18, 19 years old, was just retire early. Secondary to that, it would be make a lot of money because you have to make a lot of money to retire early.

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:53]:
If you had gone through the launch program, what do you think you would have ended up with? I'm curious. That

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:00]:
is a good question. It's a very tough sell. My goal specifically is very tough and I don't know if I would cater necessarily like to that goal because, okay, well, it's my goal to retire by 40. That's such a lofty goal. And when you're 16 years old as a dishwasher or 19 years old, when I'm in college right now, and I've tried something kind of hasn't worked. That is such a lofty goal. You have hardly any skills to I want to make, oh, let's just call it $10,000,000

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:43]:
Before you're 40.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:43]:
Before you're 40.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:44]:
That's a big goal.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:45]:
I think that trying to service that goal would be difficult. The way that we would have to approach it is we'd have to break it down in like, okay, what are the skills that you need? That are high value enough to earn. To earn $10,000,000 in income or build. And I wouldn't have had this knowledge back then, but this is why you hire coaches. I guess if we hire business coaches and things like that, you don't know what you don't know. You don't necessarily just need $10,000,000 in income buyer 40. Maybe you have $10,000,000 worth of a company, maybe a company. That's worth

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:21]:
that much or you

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:22]:
have houses or something like that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:24]:
Yeah. I would say you get lucky. You get in a company that's really small that gets bigger.

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:28]:
Right. Exactly. And so some sort of asset as well that could go to $10,000,000 as well. And whatever your number is, I'm just using It's an easy big number. Yeah. Because it's the easy big number. And then also 10,000,000 is a good amount of money to that. If you just put in the S and P 500, most people it's going to be enough.

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:49]:
The 5 to 6% dividend that it kicks off every year, It's going to kick you into the highest tax bracket. You're going to make more off of your dividends than most people make by working.

Hannah Maruyama [00:32:00]:
Woah, woah, big man with an economics degree. What you think you're better than me? Think better than me. Thank you for explaining that S and P five hundred to me. But yes, thank you for that overview. I like, I'm teasing you.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:13]:
I'm not just pulling $10,000,000 out of my hat because it's a big number. I'm pulling it out of my hat because it's an easy number.

Hannah Maruyama [00:32:19]:
To do the math with.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:20]:
And then it yeah, exactly. A couple. And then, well, and then most people, like I said, if you're kicking off a 5% dividend because you're just invested in the S and P 500 and you're experiencing the growth and you're just taking the growth from it, you're what is that $500,000 $500,000 You're living very well. You're not the ultra, ultra, ultra wealthy.

Hannah Maruyama [00:32:42]:
You're in very, very good shape.

Ryan Maruyama [00:32:43]:
But you're in very good shape and you shouldn't have to, I mean, not shouldn't have to, but as long as you keep your expenses within that you can live off of the interest that it kicks off. Yeah. The dividend that it kicks off. And then you don't ever have to touch your principal of the 10,000,000. So anyway, sorry, that's a tangent as well. But looking at that, like, well, that's a huge goal. Anything short of that goal would be difficult. I think for that, you'd have to 1, the first thing is talk about expectations of like, look, I can't help you create a $10,000,000 career.

Ryan Maruyama [00:33:16]:
That's crazy. You're 16 years old. You're 19 years old. I'm not saying that it hasn't been done before, but I haven't even done it. I don't know, but I can give you the building blocks to get there and we're going to have to learn skills to get there. And so the way that I would approach that, and this is a little bit of therapy for me is I would think about the macro things that need to happen to put yourself in a position to eventually have an opportunity big enough to have a bone to chew on. That's big enough that can help you make that amount of money and to help you establish that type of income or asset ownership.

Hannah Maruyama [00:33:55]:
I will say for most people too, there's very few jobs that you can end up earning that amount. It would have to be eventually, probably business ownership or consulting business, or for most of us. Right. You could build a construction company. Like you said, you can buy rentals that can increase in value to that, but it's difficult to find a $10,000,000 skillset.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:17]:
It's going to be very difficult to income your way to that number. But the good thing is if you're starting at 16, if you're starting at 19, not like how I did and you're starting out, like, with that goal and and kind of having a little bit more direction, then you have a lot more years because it's not like you have to make $10,000,000 in 1 year. You have 20 years to do it. You can absolutely do it, especially if you keep your expenses low and your income keeps going up and up and up, then you can absolutely do it. It's totally fine. And you can definitely income your way there. It just, you're going to have to make, I mean, what is the I don't know if home

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:54]:
public math. Oh, no. Not the calculator.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:55]:
I don't wanna do it. I don't wanna sound like an idiot more than I already normally do to do $10,000,000 over. Let's just call it 20 years. You have to cashflow $500,000 every single year, every single year, you have to have an excess of $500

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:15]:
more than what you're spending, right?

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:17]:
And what

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:17]:
you're living on.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:18]:

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:18]:
You also need half a $1,000,000 a year.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:20]:
And that's just the straightforward math. And that's assuming that you're just letting it sit and fallow and not putting it in a savings. Right. Exactly. Not even putting in a high yield savings account. You're literally just letting it like you're just taking that money and sticking it under your mattress because then if you let it grow and compound, then it'll be quicker. But thinking about what are the jobs for one that will net you $500,000 plus jobs a year because that's what you need in income.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:50]:
High-tech for the most part sales,

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:52]:
the jobs themselves are pretty, not few and far between, but you're definitely in the very small percentage of people out there in the market. You have to think about like, what are the skills that show up most in those jobs? And it really just depends. And there's a bunch of ways that you can go about doing this. You can go the general route of, okay, well, I need to learn sales and marketing because every single company in the world needs those 2 things. I need to be in the profit center. Like that's something that overarching over everything.

Hannah Maruyama [00:36:26]:
Yeah. If you make a business money, you'll make money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:36:28]:
Yeah. You need to be in a profit center somewhere. You have to be because the only way to make that amount of money is to be in the place that you are helping. You are enabling that business to make money, wherever that is. It could be on the product side. It could be on the sales side. It can be the marketing side, doesn't matter. But whatever that is, you have to look for your profit centers and you have to go there.

Ryan Maruyama [00:36:49]:
A big thing you have to think about is I need a big market. I need a big market that's expanding. Right. And so you need to be up on the trends or you need to at least be thinking about what trends are coming out. So like, for example, right now, a good direction that you could probably rely on at least for the next 5 to 10 years and going into the future is AI. So it's a really clear indicator right now that, okay, this AI thing has legs. You just figure out where are the high leverage places within that type of industry that you could go. It could be in the sales and marketing.

Ryan Maruyama [00:37:25]:
It could be okay, I need to attach myself to a b to b SaaS company that is AI enabled, and then I need to go and sell massive contracts to the fortune fives of the world.

Hannah Maruyama [00:37:37]:
That's how we're gonna make our money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:37:39]:
Exactly. And I need to just go and sell a $100,000,000 contracts to the city of Houston and then to the city of New York. And you just keep doing that. And then, okay, there you go. Or you think, okay, well, AI, well, not sales. Well then what about on the product side? Okay. Well then how do I build these things? And then you go and tool your career to build those things.

Hannah Maruyama [00:38:03]:
I think another good example of this that's not tech based would be something that's construction or land development based similar concept, which is as opposed to in demand technology it's in demand places. So selling raw land in places where there's high growth or high population expansion would be another good example of that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:38:22]:
Yeah. Or land development. Right. As well. Basically what you need is you need uncapped potential. Obviously you need that within yourself because the journey that you're going to take, I'm guessing, because I haven't done it myself. We talk about Taylor swift and I think what she did was that she just learned how to market or she learned how to sell herself and she learned the music industry. And then she found that there was a ceiling in her knowledge and everything like that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:38:48]:
And she was just like, okay, well, boom, let's go to the next level. And then, okay, what do I need to learn now? I want now that I'm at this next level and I've mastered this level and you have to learn the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, and you just have to keep going up. So in yourself, you need uncapped potential, but then it's also very helpful if the market that you choose also has uncapped potential. I'm not saying that you can't go into dwindling markets, but it's going to be much harder. Let's imagine that you wanted to do this thing, but then you started to focus your career on newspapers. I'm not saying that you can't make, let's call it 600. Let's say you live off a hundred. And then I'm not saying that you can't make $600,000 a year working in the newspaper industry.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:31]:
I'm sure there are a bunch of people that do it or a few people that do it. I'm just saying is you're paddling upstream. Yeah.

Hannah Maruyama [00:39:35]:
Why would you not do that? You're paddling upstream

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:37]:
and you're seeing all these other boats, like, just go down. She what are you doing? What are you doing? And he's like, yeah, I'm going that way.

Hannah Maruyama [00:39:44]:
Yeah. I'm going that way. And yeah, this is such a universal example too, because you see this in other industries as well. Like marketing, we talked about tech, we talked about construction or more land, but this also works in other industries that maybe people don't view that way like beauty. There's quite a few high earners actually in the beauty industry. Why? Because it's consumable. Everyone can use your stuff. You market well enough and you market right.

Hannah Maruyama [00:40:09]:
There's a bunch of beauty billionaires. I say billionaires because the people around them also make money because their company is worth a lot of money. And so that's just an example of that. But off the top of my head, I mean, Rhianna's built her brand like that. Huda Beauty has built her brand like that. Michelle Phan, actually, she's a YouTuber that built her brand like that. And the people around her have also earned money. And then if you're in sales and marketing for somebody who, with a growing brand like that, you also make money.

Hannah Maruyama [00:40:33]:
So there's potential there too.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:35]:
So to get around to an answer of what we were talking about, which is what advice would I give myself if I had come into the launch program with that goal with a very clear goal, I would break it down into the skills that I would need. And a lot of it, there's so many ways to get there. And this is very true for everybody that gets to the launch program, especially if you have fewer needs. And we've talked about this before, and we talk about it in the book that's coming out degreefree.coforward/otheroptions. The more needs you have in a job, the harder it is to find work while making $10,000,000 in 20 years is a huge goal. But if that's your only goal, it actually is gets a little bit easier.

Hannah Maruyama [00:41:23]:
If you're willing to do something that will make you that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:25]:
Exactly. But let's just say that I came into the launch program and I didn't have just that one goal. I was willing to wash dishes and make $600,000 a year washing dishes. I'm down. I don't care. Well, I will shovel off the sidewalks for $600,000 a year. I don't care. Whatever it is I'm willing to do.

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:47]:
But if I came into the launch point, I was like, I need to make $600,000 a year and I need to not talk to anybody. I need to work 20 hours a week. I need to have a personal health day once a week. I need to

Hannah Maruyama [00:42:00]:
live in LA on the beach.

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:02]:
And then now all of these needs 100% non negotiables that I'm looking for in my work and in my jobs. Well, then it got a lot harder to make that money. The first thing is, yeah, just be okay. Well, there's a lot of ways that we can get to that goal. It's just, how do you now the person, me, my younger self, which one of these pathways do you want to learn? Because we have to learn skills. We have to learn sales, we have to learn marketing, or we have to learn some sort of other skill that is in a profit center that has uncapped potential that is in a big market For myself now going a little bit deeper past the skills, I'm a big proponent in making that amount of money. I'm a big proponent in businesses and that's no surprise. I mean, look at my job right now.

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:54]:
Right. Exactly. Like I'm obviously biased because I own a business.

Hannah Maruyama [00:42:57]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:58]:
I have to check my bias there, but in my mind, if the only goal is to make a lot of money, businesses are a really good way to do that because everything that you generate for your business is also generating, I don't know what else to call it, just business value or enterprise value. So that the income that you make now, if you're able to systemize it and process it ties it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:23]:
Yeah. If

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:25]:
you're able to create a process and you're able to create systems around it, you can then sell that company and then make a one time payment based off of the cashflow, based off of the profits of the business now. And so, you know, if you're making a $100,000 a year now, but you basically make a $100,000 a year doing nothing, Literally nothing. You don't ever have to do anything. There's 0 employees and it's making a $100,000 a year truly by itself. Somebody will pay you a $1,000,000 for a $100,000 profit business.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:57]:
Yeah. To take that off your

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:58]:
hand. That does nothing.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:59]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:59]:
Right? Like they don't have to do anything. They'll pay you a $1,000,000 in that vein. If you have a $1,000,000 a year business where you don't have to do anything, then they'll pay you $10,000,000 for that business. Business. I mean, there aren't very many businesses like that, but truly, if you are able to create one, then you can

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:15]:
do that. You can earn the

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:17]:
money and then sell it. Right. Exactly. That's what I would think about is creating a business and

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:22]:
what skills you need to do that.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:24]:
It all comes down to skills. And that's exactly what we do in the launch program. Right. Which is identify skills to learn, to then go and shape the life you want by using work to fulfill your life goals. And I think for me, that's funny. That was a big rabbit trail that I'm glad we went down because it was a good, basically just doing our job, our work in real time and for my previous self And it also helped me kind of think through a bunch of other things for myself. Even currently now just had a couple of thoughts about how I could live my life differently right now. I think that was awesome.

Hannah Maruyama [00:44:57]:
We're just going to keep doing rollover episodes.

Ryan Maruyama [00:44:58]:
Yeah. We had a bunch more things to get into that. I don't think we have time for anymore. Is there any other final thoughts or anything else you want to say before we get out of here?

Hannah Maruyama [00:45:09]:
Yes. I just want to tie a bow on all of this and drive home the point that the skills that you learn can directly impact the work that you were able to get. And if you learn the skills that you need, and specifically, if you're young adult, you learn the skills that they need, they can get the work that they want. And it was very cool to see that in such an up close way as it always is, but this was just a particularly good story and I wanted to share it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:34]:
Yeah. I think that's pretty much it. Let me know what you guys think about this episode. We didn't have that whole back half of the episode plan. I'm curious to know what you guys think. Let us know in the YouTube comments. Let us know in the Spotify comments. Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:47]:
And and that's pretty much it. Until next week, guys. Aloha.

Join the Degree Free! Receive exclusive tips, tools, and resources so you can crush it no degree needed:
Newsletter Sign Up - Email Only

Teach Youself. Get Work. Make Money.

We'll show you how in our Degree Free Launch Program
Check out the program
Degree Free Logo White

Are You Ready to Join the Degree Free?

Yes! Sign Me Up!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram